Defining Freedom

In an editorial last Friday, the Chronicle states that “Maybe Ted Cruz needs a new dictionary. His definition of ‘freedom’ seem a bit off.” The editorial is responding to the Senator’s plan to allow insurance companies to sell health insurance with minimal coverage, which Cruz calls a consumer freedom plan.

Interestingly, the editorial fails to define freedom. It fails to tell us why offering consumers more choices isn’t consumer freedom. Instead, it tells us why Cruz’s plan will fail.

Freedom means the absence of coercion. Unlike ObamaCare, the Cruz plan will allow insurance companies to offer a variety of plans, and consumers will be able to choose the one that best fits their needs and budget. This is a step towards more freedom in health care.

The Chronicle would like us to believe that freedom of choice has nothing to do with freedom. Instead, it would like us to believe that forcing us to purchase coverage that we don’t want or need is freedom.

If an insurance company wants to offer policies with minimal coverage, they should have the freedom to do so. If consumers want to purchase such coverage, they should be free to do so. Government should not be mandating what insurance companies must offer and what consumers must purchase.

The editorial mockingly states: “Imagine if car companies were allowed to sell self-immolating Pintos and other lemons if they also manufactured a car with five-star rating.” The statement implies that the only options are lemons or five-star products. In truth, a wide range of quality is possible. And in reality, most manufacturers offer products that cover a range of quality.

Many consumers do not want, nor can they afford, five-star quality. This is true of automobiles, smart phones, televisions, and health insurance. In the absence of government coercion, manufacturers will offer products that meet the range of consumer desires and needs. And each consumer can choose which best meets his desires and needs. That is freedom.

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